Background. The increasing demand for transplantation has resulted in a trend toward using virologically compromised donors. We reviewed our experience with liver grafts from hepatitis-B surface antigen (HBsAg)(-), antibody to core antigen (anti-HBc)(+) donors. Methods. Sixty-two liver transplants using HBsAg(-), anti-HBc(+) donors were studied. The decision to use prophylaxis was based on the presence or absence of donor and recipient risk factors for posttransplant hepatitis-B virus (HBV) transmission or reinfection. If the donor or recipient showed positive HBVDNA, hepatitis-B immunoglobulin (HBIg) and lamivudine were used. If both donor and recipient HBVDNA were negative, a choice between lamivudine and no prophylaxis was made on the basis of presence or absence of HBsAg and antibody to the surface antigen (anti-HBs) in the recipient. Results. No death or graft loss could be ascribed to HBV. Mild HBV infection occurred in two patients who were not taking the recommended prophylaxis. Among the other 60 patients, 1 showed positive e antigen (HBeAg) early after transplantation, and 2 (1 with recurrent cancer, 1 with HIV infection) showed HBsAg(+). None of the three patients had any other evidence of HBV infection. Forty-seven patients underwent liver biopsies. Changes consistent with hepatitis were observed in 26, and 24 had HCV infection; immunostains for HBV antigens were negative in all cases, and 7 showed positive HBVDNA. Conclusions. A selective protocol based on donor and recipient risk factors for post-liver transplant HBV infection can prevent hepatitis-B infection and avoid unnecessary administration of antiviral prophylaxis in recipients of HBsAg(-), anti-HBc(+) liver allografts.
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